December 2009/January 2010

There is a bit of insanity in dancing
that does everybody a great deal of good.

Edwin Denby

Greetings from Waltz Time! This newsletter offers a calendar of upcoming waltz dances and workshops, dance community news and informative articles. We encourage your articles to our newsletter. What would you like to know? Please send your story or suggestions for topics to staff@waltztimedances.org.

Waltz Time is an all-volunteer committee that produces the twice monthly Sunday afternoon waltz dances and the Annual Strauss Ball at Glen Echo Park's Spanish Ballroom. The December 2009 and January 2010 waltzes are listed below or view the entire year's calendar at our web site.

Information Needed: For an upcoming article about the origins of waltzing in the Spanish Ballroom, please email us with your recollections, reminiscences, anecdotes, etc. If you have relevant photos, please feel free to send those, too, in digital format, with identification, if possible.

We hope you enjoy our newsletter. At the end of this page there are additional links that you can use to forward this newsletter to a friend or to unsubscribe.


Andre Rieu

Violinist Andre Rieu, conductor of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, is one of Europe's most popular musicians. A native of the Netherlands, he was immersed in music from childhood. Family life in the Rieu household centered around music; Rieu and his five siblings, the offspring of a symphony orchestra conductor, all played one or more instruments.

Since he considers music a "magnificent obsession," it was only natural that Rieu should follow in his father's footsteps. The Johann Strauss Orchestra was founded in 1987 and gave their first concert on January 1, 1988. Since then, Rieu and the musicians have toured extensively, garnering loyal followers in Europe, the U.S., South America and Australia. Many of their albums have gone gold and platinum.

"When I was studying the violin at the music academy," says Rieu, "somebody asked me to play in a salon orchestra. It was there that I played the waltz 'Gold und Silber' [familiar to Strauss Ball attendees!] by Frantz Lehar for the first time. What a revelation it was! I was immediately spellbound by that beat which, years later, has almost become the rhythm of my life: three-four time, the rhythm of the waltz." Rieu's success as a violinist and conductor has allowed him to secure one of the most coveted instruments in the world: a Stradivarius. The violin he plays was built in 1667.

Rieu, the Johann Strauss Orchestra and his choir have appeared numerous times on public television. His latest showpiece - a concert that doubles as a wedding reception for two members of the Vienna Debutantes, a group of dancers - takes place in Dresden's famous Semper Opera, considered one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. (Check www.weta.org or www.mpt.org for dates and times.) Said Rieu of that performance, "[I]t was a wonderful concert with the Vienna Debutantes ... and of course the most beautiful waltzes by Strauss. We would love to return here to this fabulous temple of music ... to feel people's hearts beating again. I feel sure they beat in three-four time!"

Winter's Eve at Glen Echo Park

Winter's Eve at Glen Echo Park will be held on Saturday, December 12, starting at 6 pm. This is a free event that fits dancers' schedules quite nicely. Come by before the dance and enjoy some light refreshments, browse the holiday art sale in the Popcorn Gallery, visit art studios, and try your hand at glass blowing!

The evening includes free craft activities for the family, choral performances and sing-along, hot cocoa bar and fresh popcorn, and a special opportunity to make a blown glass ornament for teens and adults, age 16 and older. Family craft activites end at 9 pm, but some activities will remain open until 10 pm and later.

There will be a reception at the Holiday Art Show in the Popcorn Gallery, and you may browse artwork, purchase gifts, and meet some of the artists. Take this opportunity to tour the studios of our Resident Artists and learn about their visual arts programs, upcoming classes and artwork for sale. Finally, be sure to check out our newest studio, SilverWorks, located on the 2nd floor of the Yellow Barn, celebrating their Grand Opening this night. I went by on Thursday, and the studio is really nicely arranged and visually exciting. The entire event, except for the glass ornament making, is free and open to everyone.

Exciting this year is a special opportunity for individuals, or couples, to learn the fundamentals of glassblowing and create your own glass ornament (see the photo in this article). You need to sign up on December 12 as soon as you arrive (the earlier the better so you can get on the list). The sessions run from 8 - 10 pm or so, and you will make an ornament under the supervision of Paul Swartwood of the Glassworks Studio. Cost is $26.50 for the session, including all materials for making your ornament. You can also just observe the glass blowing demonstrations from 6:30 - 8 pm, and for adults, there will be wine and refreshments at the Glassworks studio, in the Caretaker's Cottage down the path from the Ballroom. The entire evening promises to be fun and enlightening, and you might just find the perfect holiday gift for someone special.

Tell Us What You Want

Waltz Time is in the process of scheduling dances and booking bands for 2010. We look forward to another year of blissful waltzes (and tangos and swing dances and polkas and hambos and schottisches, etc.) and hope to see you at all, or at least most, of our events. When you hear a band you especially enjoy, please give us your feedback at staff@waltztimedances.org.

We also are working on special events for 2010. Ideas being considered but not yet decided include an extra Cajun waltz and 2-step dance organized with Mike and Sharon of Dancing by the Bayou, a Tango Vals workshop and dance, and a Viennese Waltz workshop. If you have any ideas about these or other workshops, please send along your ideas. We want to be sure to book the bands that play the music you want to hear - and dance to, of course!

Upcoming Sunday Afternoon Waltzes

Sunday Afternoon Waltzes begin with an introductory waltz lesson from 3 - 3:30 pm,
followed by dancing to live music until 6 pm. Cost is $8, including the lesson.


December 6: CROWFOOT with Jaige Trudel, Adam Broome, Nicholas Williams

December 20: WALTZ MAGIC with Alexander Mitchell, Barbara Heitz, Liz Donaldson, Ralph Gordon


January 3: RHAPSODY with Marty Taylor, Ralph Gordon, Dave Wiesler, Alexander Mitchell

January 17: TRIO CON BRIO with Paul Oorts, Elke Baker, Jonathan Jensen

All events are held at the Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD and
sponsored in cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc.,
the National Park Service and Montgomery County, Maryland.